An 89-year-old man who was knocked to the ground by an unknown offender while shopping in Coles is undergoing surgery while the offender remains on the run.
Police say the elderly man was entering the supermarket when the offender was exiting.
The man was knocked to the ground by the offender who fled the scene while bystanders attended to the man.
The incident occurred last Friday and police have released a public plea for any witnesses to come forward.
But the family of the man, who did not wish to be named, said the general community response to the accident highlighted the strong community within Ballarat.
“Ballarat’s biggest asset is its beautiful people,” the man’s daughter said.
“The response of the community has transformed my father’s experience.”
Ballarat councillor Belinda Coates strongly encouraged anyone in the community with information to contact police.
“It is really important that community members do look out for one another, particularly those people who are more vulnerable,” Cr Coates said.
“It is important that there are consequences for people who do act in such a violent and thoughtless way.”
Police do not believe the offender acted with intent, but said the consequences for the victim were severe.
“This is such an unusual occurrence and reminds us that it is important that community members are vigilant and looking out for one another. Safety is really everyone’s responsibility,” Cr Coates said.
“Certainly, that’s the aim in increasing the passive surveillance the sense of community and sense of connectedness.”
Ballarat Acting Inspector Neale Robinson urged the community to look out for each other.
“We would like to encourage all members of our community to keep an eye out for our elderly family members, friends and neighbours and if they have concerns in regards to the welfare of someone, police will attend to assist in making sure our community members are safe.”